EXCLUSIVE: SF family wakes up to backyard in flames caused by fireworks

Stephanie Sierra Image
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Firework sets SF family's backyard on fire
A San Francisco family woke up to flames in their backyard after fireworks landed under their deck.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco family woke up to flames in their backyard after fireworks landed under their deck.

"The flames were six feet high," said Bridget Ford. "I was terrified."

Ford and her husband slept through the fireworks early Sunday morning, but instead woke up to smells of smoke. The two live in the city's Diamond Heights neighborhood.

"Our alarms weren't going on inside the house, so our thoughts were a wildfire," she said.

The couple started checking online for any reports of wildfires in the area, but none showed up. So, her husband got up to check outside.

"He came running back into the bedroom and said there's a fire next door!"

Ford says within seconds, the small blaze exploded in size.

"We were scared for our entire neighborhood."

VIDEO: San Mateo Co. Sheriff seizes 15,000 pounds of illegal fireworks, $1M in cash

Authorities seized about 15,000 pounds of illegal fireworks and $1 million in cash after an investigation across several Bay Area counties.

ABC7's Stephanie Sierra showed the photos to Lt. Jonathan Baxter with the San Francisco Fire Department.

"That entire house could have burned down, that entire neighborhood could have burned down," said Lt. Baxter. "That's the reality."

Baxter says fire crews are bracing for this Fourth of July to be one of the worst for fire danger with strong winds, low humidity levels, and high temperatures.

"All of those combined lead for a perfect worst case scenario for grass, trees, and bushes to actually catch on fire more quickly than what we've seen in the past years when our friend Karl the Fog would come in and keep everything nice and moist."

RELATED: Here's how to keep your four-legged friends safe during Fourth of July fireworks

Fireworks are illegal in the city and county of San Francisco - even the safe and sane kind like sparklers which can do serious damage. Yet, crews are still receiving dozens of calls every night, mainly in coastal areas and Bayview, Ingleside, and Inner Richmond.

"I'm tired of it," said Rachel Amaya. "The fireworks have been going off since even before June."

Amaya owns Firewolf Pet Club, a dog training and boarding company. She's noticed more dogs go missing in the last month than the last few years running her business.

"In the last few weeks, I've seen at least 20 posters of dogs missing because they're so terrified," she said. "These loud booms terrorize animals."

If you see anyone setting off fireworks, you can text or call 3-1-1 to report them anonymously.